New tools well received at training events

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Feb 072013

Thanks to Gareth Rogers and Andrew McGeown for hosting the latest two teacher training events.

Another two really good training sessions, and the first chance to show the new photograph tool after its release.

There are five more events this month at;

Rochford – 13 Feb
Benfleet – 14 Feb
Lancaster – 26 Feb
Blackpool – 27 Feb
Kendal – 28 Feb

If you are interested in coming along – email

More on teacher training events

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Jan 222013

The latest round of teacher training events has taken place in the first two weeks of January.  Despite the inclement weather Darren Bailey and Ken Lacey have visited;

Bartholomew School – Oxford
St Ivo School – St Ives
English Martyrs School – Leicester
Bishop Justus Church of England School – Bromley
Wrotham School – Seven oaks
Watford Grammar School for Girls – Watford

Thanks to all the primary and secondary teachers that came along to the events, and a special thanks to those who organised an event.  Here’s some of the feedback that was received;

“Digimap is really useful and will improve the quality of geography teaching in primary schools”

“Plenty of useful info and hints”

“Really useful info and websites, Thank you”

“Fantastic Information, clearly presented and easy to follow”

Unfortunately the Lincoln events pencilled in this week have been a victim of the snow.  They will be re-arranged for the end of March.

The next two events will be in London on the 29th January and Leigh on the 5th February, so if you are in the area and would like to come along, contact

Twilight training programme defies floods

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Nov 272012

Darren Bailey and Ken Lacey from Ordnance Survey have hit the road with a series of free geography teacher training events for schools around the country. Terrible weather did not prevent almost everyone reaching the first two venues in Worcester and Ross on Wye where teachers enjoyed the chance of hands-on time with Digimaps for Schools.

“Digimap looks amazing“

“Great for Key Stage 2”

“Lovely to have resources and instructions to take home”

Each two hour sessions is run by Darren or Ken and most start at 4pm. Training is hosted by a lead school who invite primary and secondary geography teachers from around the area to come along. Some courses are completely full, but if you are a geography teacher in the following areas it may be worth asking Darren if there are any spare places. Dates are as follows:

05/12/2012      Frome                          BA11 4JF

12/12/2012      Bury                            BL9 0TS

07/01/2013      Chipping Norton        OX7 5DY

08/01/2013      St Ives                         PE27 6RR

09/01/2013      Leicester                      LE4 0FJ

15/01/2013      Bromley                      BR2 8HZ

16/01/2013      Sevenoaks                   TN15 7RD

17/01/2013      Watford                       WD18 0AE

22/01/2013      Alfreton                      DE55 1AE

23/01/2013      Lincoln                        LN1 3SP

Would your school be interested in hosting a training session in the future?  If you think you can get 20 or more geography teachers together, and can provide a suitable IT room, contact Darren Bailey at the Ordnance Survey to find out more.

Draw your own Hill Figure

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Nov 232012

Inspired by Ordnance Survey’s blog post about UK Hill Figures I started wondering how these hill figures appear on the detailed maps in Digimap for Schools and if I could draw my own.

Whipsnade White Lion detailed map

The fantastic detail on the OS maps in Digimap for Schools feature the Hill Figures, and make it possible to interpret the land around them and think about where they may be seen from.

So how about having a go at drawing your own hill figure?  You can make it anything you like using the wide range of Annotation Tools in Digimap for Schools.

Think carefully about the location for locating your hill figure, do you want it to be seen by as many people as possible, or do you want it in a secret location that only intrepid explorers venturing into the wilderness will come across?

Stick man hill figure

Measurements in Miles vs KM – help us decide!

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Oct 152012

Ever since the popular measurement tools for measuring distances and areas were introduced to Digimap for Schools, we have received feedback from teachers requesting the ability to measure distances in miles as well as metres/kilometres.  Ordnance Survey ran a workshop for teachers last week, and again this request was made which got us thinking….

This is something we can easily add to Digimap for Schools, however it sparked a fierce debate in our office about whether we should be adding the ability to measure in Imperial units or to stick with Metric units only.  So we thought we would open it out to you, our users and interested observers, to gain your opinions.

Should we support the fact that we commonly talk about distances in miles, while the digital maps available in Digimap for Schools are measured in metres, by adding an imperial measurements option?

Do you teach your students using imperial and metric units?  Would you rather only use metric, or is there a need to use imperial units as well?

We are really keen to hear your views, as we can’t decide!

Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Measurement tools – miles option?


GA Conference 2012

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Apr 172012

Last Friday and Saturday (13 – 14 April) the Digimap for Schools team joined the Ordnance Survey on their stand at the GA Conference in Manchester.  It was a fantastic couple of days and we welcomed many visitors to the stand.  In fact, some people had to come back on the Saturday to see us because the stand had been too busy when they stopped by on Friday!

Digimap for Schools received lots of positive feedback from teachers currently using the service and those interested in signing up.  Visitors were impressed with the new enhancements released a couple of weeks ago (read about them here) and were very interested in the new secondary and primary teaching resources recently added (download resources here)

It was an excellent conference for us, providing a great opportunity to meet new and familiar teachers to demonstrate the service and to hear feedback from those already using it.

The Education team from Ordnance Survey also held a workshop on Friday afternoon demonstrating Digimap for Schools.  The room was crammed full of eager teachers to hear about the history and development of Digimap for Schools, as well as getting  chance to have a hands-on session to have a look at the service themselves.

From the buzz on various blogs and Twitter, I don’t think we were the only people to think that the conference was fantastic, a job really well done by the GA!

New Digimap for Schools tools and enhancements released

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Apr 052012

On Wednesday 4th April, EDINA released Version 3 of Digimap for Schools, which included a number of new features and enhancements.

The new tools and enhancements have been developed directly as a result of valuable user feedback we gained from the user survey we ran last Autumn and from talking to teachers at conferences such as BETT and at training events.

New tools and enhancements:

National Grid lines overlay – This new tool allows users to display National Grid lines on screen, over any map at any scale.  Being able to display National Grid lines on the screen is incredibly useful for teaching and learning about grid references.  Grid letters and numbers are displayed clearly, spacing and numbering is scale appropriate and automatically change as a user zooms in or out through the map views.  To view the National Grid line, simply click the button on toolbar.

View a bigger map – Users can now have the map fill their screen!  We have added a full screen option which hides the top, bottom and left-hand panels to enlarge the map area that is visible.  The top toolbar will still be visible to allow you to access the annotations, measuring and other tools.  Expanding the map looks particularly fantastic when teaching a class using a smartboard as so much more map can be seen in one go.  To toggle between the larger and smaller map, click the button in the top right of the toolbar (beside the Help icon)

Overlay national grid lines on screen and maximise the map area viewable

Alternative print formats – We have added two new outputs for printable maps; JPG and PNG.  These are common image formats (similar to those used for digital photos) which means users can easily insert maps generated from Digimap for Schools into programmes  such as Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.  These new format options are available in the print options panel.

Annotations enhancements – Two new enhancements have been added to annotations; the ability to fade the background map and the option to change the orientation of the toolbar.  The Fade Map option fades the background map on screen and on printable maps to allow annotations that have been drawn on the map to stand out more clearly.  This is particularly useful when you are adding features to a map of a dense urban area.  The Fade Map option can be activated by clicking the new icon in the Annotations Toolbar.  In addition to the ability to view a bigger map, you can now reformat the layout of the Annotation Toolbar to make it vertical. This means it can now sit over the search/print panel without hiding any of the map.

Annotations toolbar showing the new features

Help and information for using these new tools and enhancements can be found in the help pages, which can be accessed in the service by clicking the Help icon on the top right above the main map window.

EDINA value your feedback on Digimap for Schools, please leave any comments, suggestions or queries regarding the new tools or any other feature of Digimap for Schools below.

Digimap for Schools’ 1st birthday!

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Nov 112011

Yesterday, 10th November, we celebrated Digimap for Schools first birthday.  It was a year since the official launch by Baroness Joan Hanham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG) at Graveney School in Wandsworth, London (

We’ve had an exciting year travelling up and down the country promoting Digimap for Schools and meeting lots of interesting and enthusiastic teachers.  In April, we were honoured to be awarded the Gold GA Publishers’ Award ( which is given for materials associated with geography in schools which are considered to make a significant contribution to geographical education.

Digimap for Schools has continued to be developed and grow over the past year.  We added measuring and annotation tools which have been very well received by teachers and pupils.  The service will continue to grow with various ideas in the pipeline for features and learning materials.  Keep an eye out on here and our Twitter feed (@Digimap4Schools) for news and updates.

To mark Digimap for School’s first birthday, we’ve launched a Mystery Maps challenge here on the blog (  Each month we will post a map of interesting mystery locations which aim to encourage teachers and pupils to discuss geographical features and identify where the mystery location is.  The answer will then be revealed the following month on Twitter (@Digimap4Schools).

As another birthday treat, Ordnance Survey have made a video showing Year 5 pupils at St Marks Primary School in Southampton using Digimap for Schools and Geography teacher Mr Beare talking about why it’s so useful in their school.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend you watch it – with a cup of tea and a slice of birthday cake!

YouTube Preview Image

Happy birthday Digimap for Schools!


Map data changes: 1:25,000 printing and annual update

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Sep 022011

Over the summer, we’ve been working hard to tweak one of the zoom levels to provide 1:25,000 scale printing and to process the new map data which will be released in Digimap for Schools on Tuesday 13th September.

1:25,000 Printing

At the start of August, we changed the map product that is used for the 8th zoomed in view in Digimap for Schools from a ‘zoomed in’ version of the 1:50,000 Scale Raster to the 1:25,000 scale Raster.  The key benefit of doing this is that you can now create printable PDF maps at 1:25,000 scale, which is one of the key scales used in the Geography curriculum across the country.

To view the changes, zoom into the 8th most zoomed in view level, and click make printable map.  Click on the thumbnail image below for an example to view a 1:25,000 scale pdf map created from Digimap for Schools.

Sample 1:25,000 scale printed pdf map

Sample 1:25,000 scale printed pdf map


Annual Data Update

Every year, near the start of September, we update the map data available in Digimap for Schools.  This year, the update will be taking place on the evening of the 13th September. All the maps in Digimap for Schools will be updated, so if there has been any new buildings in your area in the last couple of years that aren’t currently on the map, the may be on the new maps.  The annual update of the maps provides a great opportunity to take a look at some of the changes that have been taking place across the country.  My favourite example this year is the rapid development of the London 2012 Olympic venues.  Here’s a sneak preview of some of the changes you’ll be able to check out for yourself after the 13th.

Olympic site map compare

Can you spot the differences between the 2010 map (top) and the 2011 map (bottom)?

Please note that the MasterMap data used to create the two most zoomed in levels in Digimap for Schools, will be updated later in September.  Our data engineers have to process the raw MasterMap data to create the rasters images we use, and this takes quite a long time of leaving the servers to work away at it.  We’ll let you know when the MasterMap data will be updated.

Finally, we have also updated the GB view, the most zoomed out level that you see when you log in, by adding relief detail.  Showing relief at this level is really useful as you can clearly see the difference between the mountainous parts of the country and the flatter lands.

Welcome to the Digimap for Schools blog!

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Sep 022011

Hello and welcome to the Digimap for Schools blog.  The post below was a quick one to kick the blog off and to post about the wonderful Geographical Association publishers’ award that we won with Ordnance Survey in April.  From now on though, the Digimap for Schools team will be regularly posting on here.  This blog will be where to find out about enhancements, updates and any other news relating to the Digimap for Schools service.  We will also be posting about ideas for using Digimap for Schools and how to help make the service relevant to learning and teaching across age ranges and key stages.

We are very keen for this blog to be a forum for teachers to share ideas and their experiences of using Digimap for Schools, so please feel free to comment on posts or contact us.  Also, we’re looking for teachers and pupils who would be willing to write a guest post on using Digimap for Schools, so if you have any ideas or would like to volunteer please drop us a line.

You can contact the Digimap for Schools team by emailing or send us a tweet at @Digimap4Schools.

We look forward to hearing from you!